New Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal may continue his rebuilding effort of right up until the transfer session deadline, and that means the Red Devils will stay in the hunt for Real Madrid midfielder Angel Di Maria.
The Times of London is reporting that United could set a new club transfer record of £55 million for the 26-year-old Argentine, with Paris Saint-Germain likely out of the running due to restrictions placed on them by UEFA.
Los Blancos added James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos earlier last month ‑‑ to say nothing of established veteran Xabi Alonso and growing star Gareth Bale ‑‑ making the midfield very crowded at the Bernabeu. Di Maria may have trouble attaining pitch time, so Old Trafford officials have stepped in as they try to return to the top of Premier League. However, the Times added that German giants Bayern Munich have tossed their hat into the Di Maria bidding.
Fresh off an excellent showing for World Cup runner-up Argentina, Di Maria has netted 22 goals in 124 appearances for Madrid. He would be joining an equally loaded United midfield, but Van Gaal is reportedly mulling Atletico Madrid’s £25 million offer for attacking midfielder Shinji Kagawa and striker Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez.
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Van Gaal has hinted that more changes are on the horizon, and while Marouane Fellaini, Nani, and Anderson may be safe, Kagawa and Hernandez may not be part of United’s long-term future, according to The Guardian. Atletico Madrid are hoping to refurbish their Champions League runner-up squad after Diego Costa and Filipe Luis went off to Chelsea. The report says Van Gaal told Kagawa that with the new 3-5-2 formation in place he won’t have many opportunities unless he plays wide. The same goes for Hernandez, with Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie, and Danny Welbeck favored over the Mexican star.
Van Gaal even said that players have been auditioning for their roles throughout United’s international tour.
“I shall make judgments after this tour,” Van Gaal said. “I let all the players play and I know now more than before the tour. Now also it is a little bit soon to judge but in football you have to judge. You have to give a chance to the player to make a transfer when I see that his prospects to play are not so high. You have to say it in advance because it’s too late after 31 August. I will tell players after the tour but to them not to you [reporters].”
United are also in contention with Munich and rival Liverpool for the services of Borussia Dortmund midfielder Marco Reus. The 25-year-old remains unsigned by Dortmund, according to Express, even though he totaled 21 goals in 41 games in club and international play last term. While Reus is a fine player, he might be Van Gaal’s contingency plan should a deal for Di Maria fall through.
Meanwhile, winger Wilfried Zaha faces the same fate as Kagawa. He too won’t fit under Van Gaal’s system and as result could be shipped off to West Ham, as reported by Daily Mail. Hammers manager Sam Allardyce would accept a loan or permanent deal for the 21-year-old, but any move hinges on United’s asking price. Zaha has been inconsistent during the Red Devils tour, playing well against Inter Milan but less so against Real Madrid. He made only two starts for United last term, spending most of it while on loan with Crystal Palace and Cardiff City, scoring one goal.
While most of United’s players will have adjust to Van Gaal’s system and ways, the 62-year-old manager appears keen on bringing in a player who should have no trouble assimilating at all. According to The Sun, center-back Thomas Vermaelen is trying to forced his way out of Arsenal. Talks with the Gunners and manager Arsene Wenger have fallen through, and now the club is requesting £10 million for the 28-year-old Belgian who knows Van Gaal from his days with Ajax. Furthermore, Vermaelen will provide some competition for Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling, and Phil Jones.